By Michael Gordon, Project Assistant

Monday marked the 208th Anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar, when Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson led the Royal Navy to victory over a combined French and Spanish fleet on 21st October 1805. This momentous event settled the fears of invasion and assured Britain would “rule the waves” for years to come. As the battle commenced, Vice-Admiral Nelson gave the signal from HMS Victory that ‘England expects that every man will do his duty’. Nelson was killed during the battle, mortally wounded by a French sniper.

Bas relief of the death of Nelson, Nelson's Column, London (IWM WMA 11551, ©IWM)

Bas relief of the death of Nelson, Nelson’s Column, London (IWM WMA 11551, ©IWM)

We have recorded 36 memorials which commemorate the Battle of Trafalgar. Most of these are to individual commissioned officers and 19 are to Vice-Admiral Nelson himself.

At the time, memorials would have been the preserve of the wealthy and so only the families of commissioned officers were likely to be able to afford them. However, many of the memorials to the officers of the Battle of Trafalgar were funded by public as well as private subscription, reflecting the national hero status of participants of the battle.

Publicly funded memorials include those to Captain George Duff and Captain John Cooke , both in St Paul’s Cathedral, and Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square, which has a bronze bas-relief depicting the death of Nelson on the plinth and a statue of Nelson on the column above. In Liverpool, a figurative memorial of Nelson receiving four naval crowns before death was erected by public donation and includes his quote encouraging duty.  Other ranks were rarely commemorated at this time, and only then in the form of a numerical casualty figure.

Memorials to individual officers give us an interesting insight into pre-First World War public perception and attitude towards the glory of dying for one’s country, and in particular the esteem given to participants of the Battle of Trafalgar. This is evident from dedications that describe how the individual heroically fought and died in the pursuit of honour, some going in to detailed and enthusiastic narrative.

Tablet in St Clements Church, Leigh on Sea (IWM WMA 22546 ©Keith Charmock)

Tablet in St Clements Church, Leigh on Sea (IWM WMA 22546 ©Keith Charmock)

One memorial, erected on the centenary of the battle in 1905, is a stone tablet in St Clements Church, Leigh on Sea, which honours Captain W H Brand who served onboard HMS Revenge as a Midshipman and who ‘was one of those who, in the momentous Battle of 21st October 1805, so amply satisfied their country that they had done their duty.’

Captain Brand survived the battle and for a further ten years he ’bore a gallant part in many dangerous engagements and enterprises, distinguishing himself by devotion to duty, daring and seamanship worthy of England’s naval traditions.’ 

The tablet also honours his brother, Lieutenant George Rowley Brand, who lost his life in 1806 while commanding HMS Unique. According to the inscription, he died ‘under circumstances publicly recognised as of heroic gallantry, going down on H.M.S. Unique, which he commanded with colours flying and himself covered with twenty severe wounds.’

by Frances Casey, Project Manager

Last week, a ceremony took place at the memorial sundial at the Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre to commemorate those killed at the Battle of Bosworth on 22nd August 1485. This was the first anniversary to take place at the scene of the battle since the discovery of the body of King Richard III at the site of Greyfriars Church, Leicester in September 2012. Richard III was killed at the Battle of Bosworth as he tried to defend his reign of just over two years against a claim to the throne of England made by Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond.

Battle of Bosworth Field sundial and thrones on the top of Ambion Hill (IWM WMA 64893, ©IWM 2013)

Battle of Bosworth Field sundial and thrones on the top of Ambion Hill (IWM WMA 64893, ©IWM 2013)

Rather than lay wreaths at the sundial, participants at last Thursday’s event held a rose-laying ceremony. The roses make reference to the Wars of the Roses (1455-1487), the civil war between Richard III’s house of York (white rose) and the house of Lancaster (red rose), from which Henry Tudor descended.

With the death of Richard III, the Battle of Bosworth became the deciding battle of the Wars of the Roses, yet assessment of Richard’s reign and its validity has continued to divide people to the present day. The discovery of Richard’s body will help to answer some questions about the fate of the King at the battle, but there are also questions surrounding, and revisions to, assumptions about where specific events took place leading up to and during the battle. These are reflected in the memorials on the battlefield.

Sundial with crown on gnomon and throne to Henry Tudor in the background (IWM WMA 64893, ©IWM 2013)

Sundial with crown on gnomon and throne to Henry Tudor in the background (IWM WMA 64893, ©IWM 2013)

We have recorded 18 memorials to the Wars of the Roses, eight of which commemorate Richard III himself. Of the memorials to Richard, three are sited within the battlefield area and include the sundial at which last Thursday’s anniversary ceremony took place. The sundial commemorates Richard alongside other combatants and is located at the top of Ambion Hill.

Viewing point over the proposed battlefield from Ambion Hill (©IWM 2013)

Viewing point over the proposed battlefield from Ambion Hill (©IWM 2013)

Until 1985 it was thought that the battle had taken place on Ambion Hill, but historians now agree that the likelihood is that Richard’s troops gathered on the hill early on in the battle and that fighting took place to the south west of the hill. The sundial marks the points of the compass and distances to other battlefields of the Wars of the Roses. A central gnomon, the time telling device, is topped with a crown, and at ground level is an inscription which tells the story of the battle, based on that of Polydore Vergil, an Italian at the court of Henry VII. Around the outer dial are three thrones bearing the names of Richard III; Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond; and Thomas, Lord Stanley. Stanley’s throne is shorter than the other two, and it may seem like a surprising addition, but he held sovereignty of the Isle of Man as the ’King of Mann’, and his action at the battle in support of Henry is thought to be decisive.

Richard III Stone of Remembrance (IWM WMA 58484, ©IWM 2013)

Richard III Stone of Remembrance (IWM WMA 58484, ©IWM 2013)

Beside the Battlefield Heritage Centre is a stone of remembrance  which is dedicated to Richard III, erected by the Richard III Society. This was located in nearby Shenton until 1974, as it was thought that Richard had been killed in the area. A plaque added to the memorial in 2009 informs us that ‘after several years of careful study and extensive fieldwork, the true site of the battle was discovered in the area around Mill lane and the Fenn Lane Roman road…The stone has been moved here to allow better and safer public access to it and to allow the field at Shenton to be returned to agricultural use.’

Further down the hill towards the south west of Ambion Hill is ‘Richard’s Well’ . This is a pyramid of stones erected in 1813 over a natural spring. The well commemorates the site where Richard is thought to have drunk spring water either before or during the battle. However, the historian Peter Foss notes that ‘there are several springs on Ambion’ (Foss, 1998, p23), raising the question of which would be the most likely site.

'Richard's Well', Ambion Wood (IWM WMA 58477, ©IWM 2013)

‘Richard’s Well’, Ambion Wood (IWM WMA 58477, ©IWM 2013)

Other memorials to Richard include a floor tablet in Leicester Cathedral and a statue in Castle Gardens, Leicester . The latter was erected by the Richard III Society to commemorate the King who was, echoing the report of Polydore Vergil, ‘Piteously slain fighting manfully in the thickest press of his enemies. Buried in Leicester’

In his book, The Field of Redemore, The Battle of Bosworth, 1485 (Kairos Press, 1998), Peter Foss reassesses evidence for the battle and notes that sixteenth century chroniclers were inclined towards a Tudor bias (1998, p.12). Since the 1980s, the Richard III Society in particular has gone some way to redress any bias against Richard by erecting memorials to him, even though the facts regarding their locations have been revised. The memorials we have recorded so far, commemorate the Battle as a whole or Richard III’s loss. We have yet to record a memorial which celebrates Henry VII’s victory.

What does seem certain, is that ongoing investigations mean that the debate about Richard III and the Battle of Bosworth is set to continue for a little while longer…

By Michael Gordon, Project Assistant

The 16th and 17th of May this year mark the 70th Anniversary of Operation Chastise, better known as the “Dambusters” raids. These raids saw 19 modified Avro Lancaster bombers of 617 Squadron embark on a daring mission to destroy the dams within the Ruhr valley, in an attempt to cripple German industry.

Derwent Dam today (14270 and 14271 ©IWM, 2012)

Derwent Dam today (14270 and 14271 ©IWM, 2012)

617 Squadron was formed for the specific purposes of this mission and was equipped with a bespoke weapon, the now famous Bouncing Bomb codenamed ‘Upkeep’, designed by Barnes Wallis. This highly specialised mission required training and preparation unlike anything the crews had previously experienced. To prepare, the crews were sent to practise their technique at suitable locations within the UK.

Although the crews did not know the specifics of their mission during the training phases, it was quite obvious that they had been selected for a unique task due to the very specific topography of the practice locations. The crews were sent to four different locations to practise low level flying over water and precision targeting. We have recorded three memorials to these events which are located on the practice sites.

Eyebrook Reservoir in Stoke Dry, Rutland was mocked up with canvas towers to resemble the profile of the German targets. It was also used beyond the raids for further training with the ‘Upkeep’ bomb. A plaque at the site commemorates the reservoir’s importance in preparing the crews for the raids on the Mohne and Eder dams in Germany.

617 Squadron, Derwent Dam (14270 and 14271 ©Roy Branson, 2010)

617 Squadron, Derwent Dam (14270 and 14271 ©Roy Branson, 2010)

At Derwent Dam (14270) in Derbyshire, chosen because of its close resemblance to the Ruhr dams, there is a stone tablet inside the gatehouse recording the use of the dam by 617 Squadron.  In 1988, a further tablet was added, commemorating those who died during the raid. In 2008, a 65th Anniversary event was held at the Derwent Dam, involving a flypast by a Lancaster from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, which made low level passes over the dam at 100ft.

The exploits of 617 Squadron during Operation Chastise inspired their famous title of the Dambusters, and earned them a reputation as a precision bombing squadron for future operations.

The names of the 204 men of the Squadron who died in raids during the Second World War are inscribed upon the memorial wall to the Squadron at Royal Gardens, Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire. The wall has been purposely shaped to resemble a dam.

617 Squadron, Woodhall Spa (20485 ©Rachel Farrand, 2012)

617 Squadron, Woodhall Spa (20485 ©Rachel Farrand, 2012)

By Frances Casey, Project Manager

Ten years ago this month, the UK mobilised 45,000 troops and combined forces with the United States, Australia and Poland in an invasion of Iraq which sought to depose the Ba’athist government of Saddam Hussein. On 20th March 2003, following an air-strike on the Iraqi Presidential Palace the previous day, coalition troops entered Iraq by land and water. The invasion was named ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom’ by the United States. The UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) assigned it the computer generated name of ‘Operation TELIC’. This followed MOD policy to allocate non-political names to operations.

Today, the invasion and subsequent conflict is commonly known as the Iraq War. For UK forces, the war lasted for 6 years and 2 months, with UK combatant troops withdrawing on 22nd May 2009, whilst US troops withdrew later, on 18th December 2011. The war deployed 15,000 more UK troops than the 30,000 involved in the Falklands War and the UK suffered 179 service personnel casualties over the period of the war.

Glenrothes civic memorial includes Iraq War casualties, Glenrothes (IWM 56533 ©Mark Imber)

To date, we have recorded 76 memorials commemorating the Iraq War. These include new memorials that have been created for the purpose, such as a memorial erected in memory of Black Watch casualties at Balhousie Castle and a stone of remembrance to six members of 849 Aircrew who were killed when two Royal Navy Sea King helicopters collided on 22nd March 2003. Both of these memorials were erected in the UK during the war.

The names of Iraq War casualties have also been added to existing war memorials, including those in Workington, Cumbria; East Cowick, Yorkshire; Warrington, Cheshire; and Bridgend, Wales. A new civic memorial of six standing stones has been erected in Glenrothes, Scotland which includes the names of two casualties from Iraq. The town of Glenrothes was established in 1948 and the memorial is the first commemoration for casualties of the town.  

Specific units have created new memorials or added the names of Iraq casualties to existing memorials. Casualties have been added to the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit memorial in Warwickshire and in Edinburgh, the regimental memorial to the 2nd Dragoons (Royal Scots Greys) lists the names of casualties of the regiment from the Boer War (1899-1902) to the Iraq War (2003-2009).

Civilian casualties of the Iraq War are also commemorated by memorials. In St Brides Church, Fleet Street, in London there is a memorial to the 18 journalists ‘who lost their lives while covering the war in Iraq AD 2003’. The roles listed on the memorial include cameramen, translators, a sound recordist and news correspondents. Amongst those named is ITN Middle East Correspondent Terry Lloyd, who was shot by US forces on 22nd March 2003, as he reported on the invasion.   

Memorial to UK service personnel killed in Iraq Operation TELIC, National Memorial Arboretum (IWM 59914, ©IWM 2011)

The national memorial to UK Service casualties of the Iraq War was unveiled in the National Memorial Arboretum, Staffordshire on 11th March 2010. This memorial takes the form of a wall mounted with 179 plaques with the name, regiment, date of death and age of each of the UK Service personnel and the one MOD civilian that died.

The original memorial wall was built in 2006 by troops stationed in Iraq, and had stood outside the HQ of Multi-National Division (South East) in Basra airbase. During the war, the wall and the plaques were a focus for remembrance for those serving. As discussions took place in 2008-9 to withdraw troops from Iraq, securing the future of the memorial was a concern for both families and troops, and it was decided to dismantle the wall when the troops withdrew. The bricks used for the original wall were found to be too soft for the UK climate, so a new memorial was devised which used the original bricks as the foundation and core of a memorial wall enclosed by marble.

The wall commemorates those Iraq War personnel who died as a result of accident or illness as well as those who died in the direct line of fire. It also lists members of the Coalition Forces who were killed whilst under UK command during the six years of conflict.

Ten years on, and number of memorials to the Iraq War is likely to increase. New memorials to casualties of the war are still being erected and the names of casualties continue to be added to existing community and regimental memorials. 

by Irene Glausiusz, Office Volunteer

Yesterday, athletes of TeamGB Olympic and Paralympic teams took part in a parade through London to mark their achievements in the recent games and also to mark the end of the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.

Munich Olympics 1972 (©Hackney Gazette, 2012)

During this same games, after a span of forty years, or in other terms 10 Olympic Games, a memorial plaque was erected to the 11 Israeli Olympians who were kidnapped and later killed by the Palestinian terrorist group, Black September, during the 1972 Munich Olympics.

The plaque is mounted on an outside wall at the Arthaus in Hackney and the unveiling took place in the week prior to the opening of the London 2012 Olympics. The dedicatory inscription names all 11 athletes killed and includes weight-lifters, referees and coaches.

London Mayor, Boris Johnson, together with other invited guests, jointly unveiled the plaque, which was draped by both the flag of Israel and the Union flag. The Mayor said “It is entirely right that we should remember those events and let us hope that the 2012 Olympic Games are only happy and peaceful.” Eric Pickles MP Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government also spoke.

The relatives of the athletes had asked the International Olympic Committee to hold one minute’s silence in memory of the athletes at the opening ceremony of the games, but President Jacques Rogge felt that it would be inappropriate and refused the request.

Large portraits of the 11 athletes were displayed along a hallway at the Guildhall in London where a commemorative service took place on 6th August attended by Prime Minister David Cameron and Leader of the Opposition Ed Miliband.

It is a fact that there are Munich memorials at various Jewish centres worldwide. One interesting example is an abstract sculpture at the Jewish Community Campus in Rockland County USA. Created in stainless steel, it symbolises an eternal flame in the spirit of the Olympics; the base divided into 11 segments, inscribed with each of the athlete’s names. However, Martin Sugarman, Chair of the Anglo-Israel Friendship Association maintains that the London memorial is a “first” to the Munich athletes to be sited on a public building in the UK.

The Munich Olympic memorial project was spearheaded by Hackney Cllr Linda Kelly and Martin Sugarman. They also raised funds for the unveiling ceremony. The Hackney location is appropriate as one of the boroughs closest to the London 2012 Olympic Village.

Following discussions with us last year, we are delighted to announce that Canada’s Department of National Defence (Directorate of History and Heritage) have launched their own UKNIWM equivalent, in the form of the National Inventory of Canadian Military Memorials. The NICMM aims to record all war memorials across Canada and already has 6068 memorials listed, with the figure increasing daily. An associated initiative is the Canadian Virtual War Memorial,which contains a registry of information about the graves and memorials of 116,000 Canadians and Newfoundlanders who lost their lives in 20th Century conflict. Both of these are welcome new resources and we hope that they will eventually help to make those connections between individuals on Canadian and UK war memorials.

Broomfield Garden of Remembrance before the theft

Broomfield Garden of Remembrance before the theft

16 bronze plaques with the names of over 1,000 casualties from the First and Second World War, including 139 civilians were stolen from the memorial temple in Broomfield Park Garden of Remembrance, Palmers Green last weekend. The plaques, commemorating the wartime losses to the Enfield community, were most probably taken solely for the scrap value of the bronze. This is the second theft to have taken place at the Broomfield Garden of Remembrance: the memorial gates stolen in 2000 were subsequently replaced by Enfield Borough Council. Frances Moreton, Trust Manager of the War Memorials Trust described this latest incident as one in an increasing trend of war memorial thefts nationally, the causes of which the Trust are investigating.  

One of the stolen plaques with the names of civilians

One of the stolen plaques with the names of civilians


Given the high community and material value of these plaques, investing in security measures to protect war memorials, such as cctv, would certainly appear to be well worthwhile. Thieves may be dissuaded or, in any case, cctv can assist with tracing stolen features from war memorials and proceeding with prosecutions for this particular crime. 


Enfield Police have launched an appeal for anyone with information relating to the theft of the Broomfield plaques or information about their current whereabouts to contact them on 020 8345 3349.

Article by Richard Graham

Harry Patch at the Menin Gate, 2007 (Photo Courtesy of SalientPoints)

Harry Patch at the Menin Gate, 2007 (Photo Courtesy of SalientPoints)

The writer J B Priestley (1894-1984) volunteered for the army in September 1914, joining The Duke of Wellington’s Regiment (West Riding). During his service he was both wounded and gassed and he was finally discharged in March 1919 as a subaltern in The Devonshire Regiment. Of the war he wrote ‘…I believe that in the end it was chiefly won on the ground by a huge crowd of young Britons who never wanted to be soldiers, hooted at all traditions of military glory, but went on and on, when the American forces were still not fully deployed and the French were fading out, with courage and endurance and tenacity we should remember with pride.’ Margin Released (1964)

Such a man was Harry Patch, the last British soldier to have seen action in the trenches of the First World war who died at the weekend. His portrait is currently found on the London Underground advertising the BP Award, and his regiment, the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry, is commemorated on a war memorial at Bodmin. Following Harry’s death Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced plans for a memorial service, to take place later this year, to commemorate the generation that fought and died in the Great War.

This article was submitted by UKNIWM volunteer Wendy White:

The Jacksdale Soldier in 1921

The Jacksdale Soldier in 1921

Jacksdale War Memorial stands at the heart of a Nottinghamshire village, on a triangle of land at the junction of Main Road and Wagstaffe Lane. Unveiled in 1921 in memory of the men from the local districts of Jacksdale, Pye Hill and Westwood who fell in the Great War, the memorial was impressive, some 14 feet high, topped with a life-size statue of a soldier, carved from Carrara marble.  And so stood the soldier in silent tribute, until one morning in early 1959, the villagers awoke to find the statue in pieces on the ground. Stories as to how it happened vary; the general consensus is that it was the result of storm damage. A public meeting was convened shortly afterwards to take suggestions as to the course of action to follow. On the advice of the local ( and original) stonemasons, J Beresford & Son, the Council decided to cap the memorial, placing two stepped tablets beneath the capping piece.     

Jacksdale Memorial Following 1997 Renovation

Jacksdale Memorial Following 1997 Renovation

By 1996 the memorial started to show the effects of neglect and pollution, with dirty, stained stonework and letters missing from the names and inscriptions, making them difficult to read.  Action was needed to save the memorial, and the Jacksdale Memorial Restoration Group was founded. Soliciting the help of local business, public subscription and with various grants, the sum of £1,500 was raised, but this was short of the £3,000 needed. As the memorial was placed directly outside the local Co-operative buildings the company was approached. The Co-op not only pledged to provide the balance but also their own craftsmen to refurbish the stonework in time for a rededication ceremony on the 13th of April 1997.

In 2007, a local initiative was launched to bring back Jacksdale’s soldier. This was very much helped by Jeff North, a local volunteer.  It appears to have been a journey not without its difficulties and frustrations; fund raising, planning permissions, structural surveys on the memorial, remedial work for safety, locating a stonemason and commissioning the new statue.  The final happy outcome is that on the 14th June 2009 at 2.00 pm there will be a service of rededication when the new Soldier will be unveiled, followed by a host of community events on the day. A wonderful example of how community spirit ensures that the memory of those lost  in both World Wars continues to be honoured.

A series of free artist-led events will be taking place over the next few months as part of the Heritage Lottery-funded project to restore Stoneham War Shrine. We were interested to see that these include an exhibition, workshops and a talk by Prof. Mark Connelly which will be exploring the spontaneous and immediate purpose of war shrines, focusing on their responsive, temporary nature. Further information about the events can be found on the North Stoneham website.